Book Review-‘The Battle of the Denmark Strait: A critical analysis of the ‘Bismarck’ ’s singular triumph’ by R. J. Winklareth

By Derek Law, published December 2020


Robert Winklareth is a mechanical engineer and professional technical analyst with particular expertise in military weapons systems. He first wrote about the battle of the Denmark Strait in 1998 in a book which received very mixed reviews and then produced this more definitive study in 2012. It is now reprinted in paperback some seven years on. There is a very substantial literature on the loss of HMS Hood in the battle, with literally dozens of monographs and studies within larger works, so the issue for a reviewer is whether and what this work adds to that huge existing body of work.

The book is a rather larger study than the title suggests. There is a substantial initial section on naval developments after the First World War, followed by another large section on the growth of the German navy and the move to war in 1939. Given the background of the author, it is perhaps unsurprising that this focuses on the facts and statistics of the various classes of ship. It then moves to a detailed examination of the preparatory moves for Operation rhine exercise and on to the battle itself. Almost half of the book is then devoted to events subsequent to the battle. The pursuit and sinking of Bismarck is well described, but the book then rather tails off with rather perfunctory accounts of the ultimate fate of the German supply ships and the major Royal Navy ships engaged in the action…

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Filed under: WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

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